With sales already struggling due to maturity in many of its categories, major appliances recorded a sharp decline in Western Europe in 2020 as a result of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the measures taken to contain its spread. The economic impact of the pandemic has also seen consumers become more careful in their spending, especially on big-ticket items. Although improved performances are expected from 2021, a return to 2019 sales levels will not be seen before the end of the forecast period.
Major appliances recorded negative growth rates in 2018 and 2019 in Western Europe. This was due, to a large extent, to significant falls in Turkey and slightly declining sales in Germany. As the region’s biggest market, Germany has a major influence on the overall Western European performance, with high penetration rates of many major appliance products holding back growth here. Turkey was hit by the termination of the temporary tax exemption on durable goods, a depreciating local currency, rising unemployment and low consumer confidence.
An even steeper decline was seen in the region in 2020, when it was hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The measures to contain the spread of the virus, eg lockdowns or retail closures, hit sales, as did falling disposable incomes. Shoppers are generally keen to examine major appliances before buying them, making non-essential bricks-and-mortar store closures a particularly negative development.
The EU’s new energy label requirements came into effect from March 2021. All white goods sold in EU countries from this time will need to feature an updated sticker communicating their energy rating, with the current classifications of “A+”, “A++” and “A+++” replaced by a new scale of lettering from A to G, with “A” being the most ecologically friendly. This could entail manufacturers having to undertake significant work to bring their models up to the desired rating.
Major appliances will see only a slow recovery in Western Europe over the forecast period, to the extent that sales will still be some way short of 2019 levels by the end of 2020-2025. Much of the region was still in the grip of second or third waves of the pandemic in early 2021, including lockdowns and retail closures, with many consumers also hit by the economic impact of COVID-19.
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